Windows XP is Dead Upgrade your LaptopsAfter April 8, 2013, Microsoft will no longer provide patches, security fixes, or other support for its XP operating system. The move is a long time coming. Despite having a still-sizable market share among operating systems, XP is almost 12 years old. That’s ancient for an OS.

Microsoft suggests that businesses that still use XP start migrating now to the operating systems it still supports: Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. The options now facing companies that still run XP on a number of their laptops are:

1. Take the risk and continue running XP

The problem with this option is obvious. Lacking security patches from Microsoft, laptops or PCs still running XP are susceptible to attack and can therefore represent a serious data security concern. On the other hand, getting rid of all the XP clients isn’t always an option. For example, some companies rely on older applications that only run on XP, so changing operating systems would also mean a costly upgrade or complete change out for certain applications.

Other companies just can’t handle the loss of the investment they put into their XP laptops. This might lead them to:

2. Continue using the laptops, but upgrade them to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1

The good news is that while some older PCs and laptops are not optimal for running Windows 7, some of them can run it well enough for certain types of users. The bad news is, some of them just can’t run Windows 7 at all. Considering XP is a dozen years old, there’s a good chance most of the earliest XP computers fall into this category. If this is the case, maybe it’s time to:

3. Purchase all new laptops

This is clearly the most secure option, but, of course, it’s also the most expensive. Believe it or not, those old XP laptops might be still worth something on the resale market. Your company may not want them anymore, but that doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t. Here are a few tips for maximizing the resale value of your old Windows XP laptops:

    • Keep them intact. Systems that are missing components (such as drives, chargers, and monitors) are worth much less (or even nothing) on the resale market than complete systems.
    • Store the laptops or PCs in locked containers onsite. This will prevent them from getting damaged before they can be resold, and ensures the data on the hard drives is secure until it can be wiped.
    • Make sure all data has been properly sanitized from the laptops before they are sold. Make sure you have a good process in place and you have auditable records – your company is liable for a data breach no matter who does the sanitization.
    • Sell them as soon as possible. The value of used laptops decreases rapidly over time.
    • Get help. If your company doesn’t have the capacity to perform any of the above tasks on its own, there are IT asset disposition vendors out there that specialize in asset remarketing. They understand the market and know how to get the most value for your used assets. Be sure to also look for a vendor that can properly recycle any of your equipment that can’t be resold – don’t risk an environmental violation.

You might not have much choice in cable providers in your area, but you do have a choice in IT asset disposition vendors. For more information on choosing a vendor to suit your company’s needs, download our free guide, “The IT Asset Manager’s Guide to Disposition.”